Three: "...Doomed to Repeat It"
By : Deathswings
As I flip the pages, you're a time that's ageless.
In between us lies the calm before the storm that rages.
Thought we were related- couldn't be separated.
I tried to get ahead, but only got decapitated.
- Soul Asylum "Shut Down"
But maybe is a big word.
Some time later, Jenny's eyes fluttered open. Sunlight poured in from an open window, accompanied by briskly chilled air. The room was a modest little cottage, one front room and a bedroom from what she could see. She was very comfortable, and she had been tucked in gently. The several wounds on her arm that she had gotten from climbing the rubble to Sephiroth were gone, obviously eliminated by a simple cure spell. Still, the thoughtfulness touched her. Sephiroth had not only kept her alive, he had nursed her back to health. Perhaps he was still human underneath after all...
"Ah. I see you're finally awake."
Her eyes shot to the doorway, where Sephiroth stood, looking every bit as sinister as he usually did. It was hard to believe that this man had been tenderly taking care of her.
"How... long have I been asleep?"
"Where are we?"
"A little cabin outside of Icicle Inn. I'm taking you to see Mother."
Jenny found herself unable to meet his eyes while they were like that, so full of sadistic rapture.
"Don't be afraid Jenny. You'll be rejoining the Lifestream."
"Sephiroth, I'll be *dead*!"
"You'll have company!" he snapped back at her.
"Why Sephiroth? Why me? Why kill me?"
"An ancient rite that I didn't know about before. I have to shed the blood of the Ancients onto the ground where Jenova was first found. Then Mother will give me her true power, and I will rule the world!"
"I have vision!!!" the lunatic edge faded from his eyes for a moment, "Though I suppose it's the same thing in the end, isn't it, sister..." He sat on the bed next to her, and she surprised herself by ruffling his hair slightly. He looked so much like a little child.
"We're one screwed up family, aren't we?" she whispered softly. He said nothing. "You know my friends will come for me. They'll fight you again, all to protect me," still nothing. "You also know we could avoid all of that right now if you just turned back. You could settle down with Luc, raise a family. But you won't do that, will you?" More silence. Nothing she was saying was doing any good. She bowed her head, resigned once more to her fate, a single tear rolling down her face. Sephiroth looked at her, almost sneering,
"Tears, Sister? I had thought you stronger than that."
"They aren't for me, Brother. They're for Luc... or rather, for Tia. She really loves you, you know. She's never said anything about it since that first day I met her, but I see it in her eyes sometimes... She misses you, Sephiroth."
Sephiroth grew even more silent, and still.
But he was suddenly miles away.
Soft hands, warm lips, a gentle caressing touch. The feel of her fingers running teasingly up his chest, his arms pinned by his own shirt. That night when Cloud came in, and they had been discussing him, and they had just barely gotten into a feigned sleep in time. A wild and crazy pillow fight at the Gold Saucer, all of them more like little kids that top ranking ShinRa officials. The sight of her at the North Crater, wind catching her beautiful black hair. The feel of her lips... the last thing he had before darkness. Memories... such simple things really, and one in particular. Laying on his back, Tia in his arms, looking up at the stars... such beautiful stars. He remembered that he had never looked at the stars before that, and he remembered thinking that he would never look at them again... not in the same way, anyway. And he had been right. He had been right. And she had been *so* right...
Sephiroth came back to himself slowly. Those were *not* his memories! That man was *not* him. He was someone else now, someone new, and less weak. But even as he thought that, he realized that he had fainted, and that his head now rested in Jenny's lap, her hand idly stroking his hair. Like a mother, he thought, exactly like a mother. What had possessed her to do this? She could have just taken his sword, slain him, and left. It would have been easy enough. But she had stayed. She had comforted him, was still comforting him. He turned slightly to look up at her, her features startlingly similar to his,
"Because you are my brother."
"Perhaps that makes me weak, perhaps that makes me a fool, but I can't kill you. There are too many people in this world that love you, whether you love them back or not, and I care about them, and about you. Does that make me weak, or a fool?"
"Yes," he said, sitting up, "But it also makes you my sister..."
* * *
He led her to the stone slab slowly. Funny, this was his moment of triumph, he should have been ecstatically happy, but he felt empty, dead. He was going to take over the world! It was what he had always wanted. But as he looked at Jenny, he realized that it was a shallow, hollow victory. But he couldn't stop now. Not now, not EVER!
"We're here, Sister."
"I know. I can feel it."
She did so, and he bound her wrists to the slab quickly. He couldn't think about this, he just couldn't. He'd go mad.
She looked up at him calmly. She had been created to die like this. She felt no sense of loss at losing her life, she was living on borrowed time anyway. Her only regret was that she would never see Reno again. She locked eyes with her brother,
"Good-bye, Brother. I will always be your sister," she turned her head away, and shut her eyes, "At least make it swift..."
Sephiroth nodded once, and plunged the sword downwards just as Reno rounded the corner, the others right behind him.
"NO! JENNY!!!" Reno rushed forward, but he was moving too slowly, far too slowly. Sephiroth's sword connected with Jenny's flesh, cleaving through bone and tissue, impaling her straight through the heart, and lodging into the stone beneath her as if all were made of butter.
And then, the whole world froze.
Clouds covered the horizon, billowing in from all directions. All over the world, all electronic devices- anything that had ever used Mako to work- flickered and went dead. Whole cities plunged into darkness. Animals all over the world stopped, and fell silent. The winds died. The waves crashed once against the shore, and then were still. For a long span of moments, everything, living or otherwise, froze like that. Even the dead, it seemed, held their breaths. And then, everything started back up again as a huge, sickly pink shaft of energy shot upwards out of Jenny along Sephiroth's sword. Jenny screamed once, a sound of almost inhuman pain, more pain than any one human should ever have to endure and then she slumped back, dead, and already cold, as if she had been dead for ages.
Reno stared at Jenny's body in utter shock and disbelief. This couldn't be happening! Sephiroth threw back his head and laughed hideously,
"You're too late, all of you, too late! I've summoned Jenova! And all of you are going to *die*!" he laughed again, wind whipping through his hair. Despite himself, Reno shivered slightly. At that moment, Sephiroth looked just like a vengeful god and Reno began to look at his life, seeing his countdown to oblivion go from years to mere minutes. He looked over at Jenny, too shocked and scared for tears. She was beautiful, even like that, draped over the stone as if she was merely resting there briefly, pausing to collect herself before moving on, long silver hair spread around her. And then, so small he wondered if he had imagined it, he saw her hand twitch and her eyelids flutter slightly. That was impossible! No one could have survived that! It was a trick of the light, an illusion. It had to be. Sephiroth laughed again, drunk on the power that would soon be his,
"I'm ready Mother!!!"
And then, the unimaginable happened. Jenny opened her eyes slowly and coughed, spitting blood out onto the clean, white snow. Her voice was shaky, pain-filled, but confident, not at all the voice of someone on their deathbed,
"Sephy, dear... I think the prophesy you read was a little off. A little... *unclear* shall we say."
Sephiroth whirled around, eyes wide as he stared at her,
"But you... I killed you! You have to die... No one could survive that..."
"Yes... You fulfilled the prophesy, Sephy. I died. And for a moment, I felt the Lifestream. But only for a moment..." she trailed off and grasped the blade in her hands, pulling it out of her body, heedless of the huge wounds the razor sharp edge cut into her hands. She sat up, blood running down her chest and hands, "Then, just as I was about to move on, I was pulled back into life."
"Pulled? Pulled by whom?"
She looked up at him, eyes glowing with Mako. But this was not the ordinary, colorless glow of Mako. It was a fiery shade of pink. For the first time in his life- at least, in this existence- Sephiroth began to know the true meaning of fear. Jenny stood up, her wounds closing as she gently picked up the Masamune, cradling in her palm like a child.
"Pulled by whom, Sister?" Sephiroth was hardly aware he had spoken. A smile stretched across Jenny's aristocratic features, twisting them into an expression of pure evil. In the instant before she spoke, Sephiroth realized what had happened, and he barely managed to choke back a scream of pure, primal fear.
"By Mother," Jenova said quietly.
She began to laugh with a wild, girlish giggle.
"Do you know, do you have any *idea* what kind of power I have now? I could tear down the stars and remake them. I could summon a thousand Meteors, destroy a thousand worlds, and rebuild them all to worship me. I could heal everyone in the world, or snap them all out of existence. And all of that... ALL of that, I could do without straining, without even thinking too hard about it! It could all be done before breakfast, if I even have to eat breakfast anymore!" the intensity of her stare bordered on painful, "Do you want to see what I can do, *Brother*?"
A rock behind him split in two, then crumbled into granite. She hadn't even so much as blinked. She advanced on him, eyes blazing,
"You killed me, Brother... and now I'm going to return the favor."
She swung the sword at him gently, flippantly. He leapt out of the way of the swing, which could have easily taken his head right off his shoulders. She wasn't even *trying* to kill him! She let loose with a dozen more attacks, not really trying to do anything but keep him moving, wear him down for the sport of it. A cat, playing with a particularly powerless mouse.
"How will you die, Sephiroth? With quiet grace, like Aeris? With resignation, like me? Or will you die pleading for your life, groveling in the dirt like the dog you are!" her sword strikes were a little bit faster, a little bit harder to dodge, "Maybe I'll cut you a little at a time and let you bleed to death into the snow. Maybe I'll make your internal organs explode one by one, ending with your heart. Maybe I'll decapitate you, but keep you alive, so that you can feel the agony of your head being separated from your shoulders. How do you want to die, Sephy?"
"Sister... please... stop..." Sephiroth fell back against the stone slab, dimly aware that the warm liquid on it was Jenny's blood. His legs had given out from under him, and he knew her next stroke with the sword would connect. He could no longer dodge. He looked up into her pink eyes helplessly, begging for a swift end, an end he knew he would not receive. She raised the sword up,
"Jenny!!" it was Reno's voice, "Jenny!!" She turned to face him,
"That's JENOVA!!" she roared.
"Jenny," he repeated, "please stop. Please, Jenny, you're scaring me."
Jenova blinked, suddenly confused. She was a goddess, why did it matter what this one, mortal boy thought of her? Why, she could *make* him be unafraid of her. She could *make* him love her. So why did she hesitate. Why had his voice robbed her of her earlier confidence?
Because I love him.
The thought hit her like a thunderbolt and she dropped the Masamune, her fingers gone numb. She loved him. Slowly her gaze shifted from Sephiroth to Reno, softening as it went, changing from hatred to confusion, hesitation, wonder. She reached out a hand almost imploringly towards Reno, and he took it without hesitation, though he must have known that she could have easily batted his head right off his shoulders. Reno pulled her into a tight embrace, and then pulled back just far enough for him to touch his lips to hers. The Jenova in her body fought desperately against the tide of emotions washing over her. Jenova needed the pain, and the self-hate of people to survive, and she was finding none of it here. Jenova pulled back and looked into Reno's eyes,
"Please forgive me Reno... Please..."
"I already have."
She shut her eyes, pulling him close again, and when she opened them, Vincent and the others could see the pink light fade from them. From far away there came an inhuman cry of rage, and then all was silent. Jenny lay in Reno's arms, utterly at peace with the world. The Masamune lay forgotten on the ground at her feet. Well... not quite forgotten...
Sephiroth had been made a fool of, made to look weak, to show fear in front of his enemies. This was a slight which could not be ignored. While the others were tending to Jenny, Sephiroth crept towards his sword. With a battle cry, he whipped up the sword, and raised it, preparing to slice through Reno and Jenny where they stood. Reno saw the sword coming down. There was nothing he could do,
"Jenny... don't look..."
But no death was forthcoming. With speed that would make a cobra jealous, Luc had gotten in front of them,
"Fine! Kill them. Kill them both! But you'll have to take me with them, Sephiroth!"
"No!" Vincent called, "Tia!!"
"Cut me down! Kill me like you did Aeris, like Cloud, like Zack, like Tifa, like Jenny... like Tseng. I've already tasted your blade once, why not again? Cut me down!"
For a long moment, everything was silent. Sephiroth froze, consumed once again by memories that he claimed were not his. But they were his. They may not have been this body's memories, but they were *his* memories. His sword dropped to the ground.
"Tia... What did I almost do?". She embraced him gently
"Hush Sephiroth, hush. You're here with me now, that's all that matters."
Vincent could see tears in his daughter's eyes, and he smiled slightly. Maybe she could find her happiness at last.
"Great, just great..." Reno muttered, a bit disgusted by the almost fairy-tale quality of the events around him, "Okay, lemme get this straight. Vincent's younger than his three 'children', though only one of them is actually a blood descendant, which is good, because two of them are in love with each other. Two of them just tried to kill us all and one of them pretends to be a guy but isn't. And Tifa and Cloud are in love, even though Cloud had a fling with Zack, Aeris' old boyfriend- both of whom are dead. But that isn't saying much, since Cloud, Tifa, Luc, Jenny, and Sephiroth were also all dead at some point or another. Did I get all of that right?"
"And what do I get for putting up with this shit? Nothing. A big fat goddamn nothing! Fuck!"
"I wouldn't say 'nothing', Reno."
He looked down at Jenny, who smiled up at him, her eyes shining with laughter, and he felt the last little bit of the Turk he used to be melt away under her eyes. He leaned down and touched his lips to hers, a pledge of love to her that was stronger than any marriage vow, coming just as the sun broke over the horizon, bathing them all in it's light.
Disclaimers at the bottom of the first part.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Death Threats? Offers of large sums of money? Send all of the above to: Lucretia@jenovaproject.com